The Merry Manhattan: A Smoked Cherry and Rosemary Cocktail for the Holidays

My holiday tradition is to make one meal that is connected from the protein to the drink. This year, I focused on rosemary. I smoked beef ribs rubbed with a homemade rosemary salt and black pepper mixture. And, as an indulgence, I made a cocktail pairing. I am calling it The Merry Manhattan. It was the perfect pairing. You get hints of smoke and rosemary in both the ribs and the cocktail.

I didn’t get a photo, but I asked DALL-E 3 for a visualization of the drink. My drink just had a grapefruit peel and a cherry without a stem as garnishes, but this is a pretty good way to see the drink.

The Merry Manhattan (as visualized by DALL-E 3)

Here are the ingredients and instructions for The Merry Manhattan. I hope you give this a try or make a twist on the cocktail. Let me know how you celebrate the holidays.

The Merry Manhattan

Recipe by Hans Scharler
Prep time



The Merry Manhattan is a festive twist on the classic Manhattan cocktail, perfect for holiday celebrations. This elegant drink features a rich amber hue, achieved by blending rye whiskey with sweet vermouth. The traditional flavor is enhanced with a unique addition of smoked cherries, adding a subtle, smoky sweetness. A sprig of rosemary infuses the cocktail with a fragrant, herbaceous aroma, invoking the essence of winter. The drink is served in a rocks glass containing a large ice chunk. The finishing touch is a gracefully twisted grapefruit peel, adding a citrusy zing and completing the cocktail’s holiday charm.


  • 1 oz Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth

  • 2 oz Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey

  • 2 dashes Sour Cherry Bitters

  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

  • Fresh cherries (for smoking)

  • Fresh rosemary (for smoking)

  • Grapefruit peel (for garnish)

  • Ice


  • Prepare the Smoke:
    Gather a few fresh cherries and a sprig of rosemary.
    Using a kitchen torch, gently torch the rosemary and cherries until they start to smoke. Be careful not to burn them.
    Immediately cover the smoking rosemary and cherries with a rocks glass to trap the smoke inside. Let it sit for a minute to infuse the glass with the smoky aroma.
  • In a mixing glass, combine 1 oz of Vermouth and 2 oz of Rye Whiskey.
  • Add 2 dashes each of Sour Cherry Bitters and Peychaud’s Bitters.
  • Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir well to chill and dilute the cocktail.
  • Add an ice chunk to the smoked rocks glass.
  • Strain the stirred cocktail into the smoked rocks glass.
  • Finish and Garnish:
    Take a peel of grapefruit and express (squeeze) its oils over the drink.
    Use the grapefruit peel as a garnish.
    Use one of the smoke cherries as a garnish.
    Use the sprig of rosemary as a garnish.


  • Enjoy the smoked cherries as a treat, or save them for a future cocktail garnish.

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